Why Manchester Will be the FinTech Capital of the UK
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Why Manchester Will be the FinTech Capital of the UK

Manchester’s reputation for innovation, productivity and technology is well established. The famous worker bee has been a symbol of the city since it was added to the coat of arms in 1842 – a reference to historic textile mills that were “hives of activity”.

Today, many of those textile mills have been converted into offices. Manchester is the UK’s second largest economy, growing five times faster than the national average, and employing over 300,000 people “in the financial, professional and business services”. It’s also “home to 70,000 ICT professionals”, encouraging businesses like IBM, Google and HP to set up offices outside of London.

What is FinTech, and why is it thriving in Manchester?

FinTech brands are financial technology companies that are ‘disrupting’ conventional banking and financial systems. They often aim to make transactions, payments, loans and lending easier and faster for consumers who are already comfortable completing most of their admin online.

London is obviously the capital in lots of respects, but Manchester has the largest student population in Europe (96,000 of them), and many of those students are international. Some are attracted to Manchester because of its employment opportunities in exciting new fields and the chance to work on brand new FinTech projects – there are 62,653 digital tech jobs available. A thriving student population links up with a vibrant global community, giving FinTech brands a very compelling reason to establish themselves in Manchester.

Manchester’s FinTech priorities

According to Invest in Manchester, the city has shown development in five main FinTech sectors: payments, platforms, software, data analytics, and cyber security. The world-class research currently being conducted is attempting to deepen the understanding of each of these sectors.

Data finance

The Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre is developing decision analysis tools that can be used to make pension funds, risk management and insurance more intelligent. They’ve also been conducting research into big data for the past 4 years.

Blockchain

Just 30 minutes from Manchester, Innovate Finance, IBM and the Government have collaborated to create a “high performance computing and data analytics research facility” specialising in cryptography.

Volatility research

Alliance Manchester Business School is researching credit risk and management, attracting international speakers who are renowned subject matter experts.

Looking to the future

With all this activity and investment, Manchester is set to grow considerably over the next few years. The city has already secured a £4 million grant for the Project Forward tech hub, and £10 million after a bid from academics and industry figures. As more money and time is invested, more global brands will develop their FinTech projects in and around Manchester.

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